Combat Systemic Racism

 

Racism is systemic and endemic in our society.  Aside from the socioeconomic inequities, this is manifested in behavior.  Recent examples in Plano include a perhaps well-intentioned but inappropriate arrest of a teenager walking home during a winter storm and the decidedly not well intentioned bullying of another teenager by his classmates.  We need to recognize racism exists and have the difficult conversations about how to eradicate it.

 

David’s Personal Background Enabling Leadership

 

David’s personal life experience uniquely enables him to understand the many perspectives on racism.  He is well equipped to participate in meaningful discussion and supply leadership when needed on solutions.  This experience includes his family, his upbringing and recent leadership.

 

Family

 

David has been blessed to be part of a multi-racial family and extended family.  As a white boy growing up in Texas before integration, David did have the white privilege experience.  However, he had a Mexican and Jewish uncles (through marriage) and parents who were active in the civil rights movement.  Later in life, David married a native Hawaiian who had been raised by a Black couple.  David and his wife raised a biracial son as well as a Black daughter (through adoption).  Their daughter married a white man, who produced David’s biracial granddaughter.  Although no white man can fully understand the experiences of Black or biracial folks, David does have the benefit of a lot of first-hand accounts, ranging from his father-in-law’s watching a lynching to his daughter’s challenges as a Plano ISD student.

 

Life Experience

 

When a teenager, David’s family moved to England.  As an American, he experienced prejudicial behavior from many of the native English.  He became part of a minority group, oppressed in some respects, that included his Black and white classmates at an American school.  To finish his senior year at that American school as his family moved on to Wales, David lived in a nearby YMCA with college students from all over the former British Empire.  This group of similarly situated young men got along very well but brought very diverse perspectives from their respective corners of the world as well as a minority group within the original Anglo country.

 

Later David attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville just a few years after integration of Tennessee institutions, including the university.  As the university community struggled to overcome recent segregation, civil rights icons, such as Fannie Lou Hamer, were frequent speakers on campus.

 

Even later, fate brought David into multi-racial family relationships. (See above.)  That in turn led David and his family to a start-up Plano church, All Nations United Methodist Church that was diverse by design.  David continues in the lay leadership of the United Methodist Church in North Texas, supporting its Journey Toward Racial Justice and other initiatives.

 

Recent Leadership

 

When the city’s Equal Rights Ordinance was challenged, David was a passionate defender, serving as treasurer of the political committee that would have defended it at the polls had a petition been successful.  Later, when a council member made racist and Islamophobic posts, David wrote the petition that led to council setting a recall election.

 

As the aforementioned Journey Toward Racial Justice rolls out to his own church congregation, David will serve as a facilitator.

 

Future Leadership

 

Upon returning to the Plano City Council, David looks forward to encouraging the city to continue to address and eliminate systemic racism and providing leadership wherever needed to accomplish this.

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